Kicking the Sugar Habit

The 31-days of kicking the sugar out of my diet is over and I feel so glad to have done it. I made a challenge to myself to stop eating sugar for January, which included all major offenders of my big ‘ole sweet tooth. I was able to avoid all baked goods, obvious processed sugar foods, and sugar add-ins like honey, agave, etc. And I didn’t fake myself out by using sugar-alternatives like Equal or Sweet-n-Low, drinking diet sodas or foods that contain them.

sugar

What’s the point?

So yeah, why even bother with all of this for just 30 days? For me it came down to this:

  • I wanted to reclaim my taste buds. Was I so used to hyper-sweetness, that I couldn’t be satisfied with less? Could I have fruit for dessert feel sated?
  • Would I notice a physical difference in skin, mood or weight?
  • How addicted to sugar was I? The thought of giving up sugar freaked me out, which made me want to do it even more.

How’d it go?

The first 10 days were the hardest. I had to retrain myself on what foods to reach for. Nuts instead of muffins, fruit instead of granola, green tea over Chai. Most nights dessert was a piece of fruit and herbal tea. I juiced fruits and veggies to get over the mid-afternoon hump and drank loads of tea.

The biggest realization was how much sneaky sugar there is in foods. Pasta sauce, peanut butter, chicken soup and plain yogurt all have small amounts of sugar in them (1/2 teaspoon). And I didn’t avoid these things. It was too much to ask of me. I felt like unless I was prepared to make my own from scratch (no way), that I’d just have to deal with it and know my quest was not utterly pure, but still vastly worthy.

I did however avoid partaking in some pretty tough situations and I’m really proud of that. Food is so social and it’s tough to be the one to pass on carrot cake, homemade ice cream, margaritas and Girl Scout cookies (on day 28 – this was tough!)

Results?

This 31-days of being sugar-free was good for me. I lost a few pounds, which is great, but the best part was feeling even. My moods were much more even and I didn’t get that dip in energy in the afternoon. PMS moodiness didn’t happen last month and that was a win (for everyone). Skin was clear, but did not transform into magical mythic skin (too bad, maybe it takes longer). Now that I’m “allowed” to have sugar again, I don’t crave it. I’m not even interested in having a big sugar bomb. And chocolate isn’t calling my name anymore. I put half the amount of honey in my green tea that I used to and couldn’t even finish a flavored yogurt that I bought.

Tranquility (Puerto Rico – Photo: David Hillegas)

It’s like anything. Once you cut it out of your diet, you can enjoy it on a much more moderate level afterward. I was in a rut of eating a certain way and by doing this, I got to to clean up my eating and opt for better choices

Next up: This year, I’m doing 12 smaller goals, rather than one resolution that goes all year. In February I’m going to concentrate on working in my sketchbook everyday. It’ll be good for me to wake up my creative juices.

Thanks for reading about my sugar challenge! It’s been an interesting experience.

x Laura

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11 responses to “Kicking the Sugar Habit

  1. Reading this I have to admit- I’m hoooked on sugar- in a bad, bad way! I used to do detox diets but haven’t in years. I am mood swinging crazy land without my sweets and coffee. You remind me there’s a better way. Congrats on cleaning up your sugar monkey.

    PS: I indeed go Royale! At first I said to myself that I couldn’t afford it- but I really like Pic Monkey and wanted to thank them for making it so easy for anyone to knock their graphics outta the park. So I plunked down the bucks.

    Next day boyfriend offers to teach me Photoshop on his computer. Ah, ironies! LOL.

  2. There’s no question my body and mind would benefit from less (or no) sugar, but I don’t think I have the inner strength that you do. I’m very impressed and inspired – I love the idea of “evenness.” Maybe I can do it!
    Congratulations!

    • Elisa — You give me too much credit. I’m the worst dieter there is. It’s much easier for me to switch foods than eat less. If you ever wanted to do, you could. I’m positive of it. But not in February. There are too many cute valentine’s yummies to be eaten!

  3. That was really interesting! I dropped chocolate two weeks ago as you know. Now and then the desire washes over me but overall it hasn’t been awful. Fresh fruit tastes so good! This week I added sliced bread on the denial train. I’m not sure why I’m doing this. It’s probably your fault. E

    • I’m so impressed Elaine. I know how much you looooove chocolate. Isn’t it funny how quickly the cravings pass? And you’re adding sliced bread? Now you’re into territory that’s beyond me.

  4. I like your idea of doing 12 small goals, something different each month. I could probably get through one month without sugar (maybe). I’m not sure I want to try, though!

    I don’t know what kind of peanut butter or yogurt you buy, but you can get those without added sugar.

    • You’re right, I probably could have sleuthed out better peanut butter and yogurt options. I’m not great at dieting, so I just went with it. Let me know if you adopt the smaller goals for the year and what you’re working on. Would love to hear about it.

  5. No to margaritas? You ARE strong!
    Congrats! I have to tell ya, the fresh fruit juice that I’ve been making has replaced my need for chocolate and other sweets. Love my juicer!
    Now if I can just get back into exercising…. :)

    • You’re so funny! I’m sure you could get me to cave on a margarita in seconds. Not much arm-twisting there. It sounds like you’re doing great with your juicer. We love our juicers, don’t we?!

  6. What a interesting project! I too want to get rid of my sugar intake and am reading Why we get fat from Gary Taubes. He appearantly comes with a lot of scientific evidence on why sugars are so bad for you. I hope that he can finally convince me to give them all up. Good luck with your next project. Such a good idea to do 12!

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